Ever wondered what it takes to be a good patient? Being a good patient isn’t just for those under the doctor’s care. Check out these tips.
The Doctor’s Orders
“What do I need to do?” Pedro asked the specialist who stopped by his hospital room. I had to repeat his words for the specialist, because the cancer had frozen Pedro’s facial muscles and people who didn’t know him couldn’t understand his speech very well.
“You need to walk every single day, even if you don’t feel like it,” the doctor replied.
“I can do that,” Pedro said with a nod.
“You also need to eat, even if you don’t like the food.”
Again, Pedro nodded his head. “It takes until lunch to eat breakfast,” he joked.
“And you need to keep your spirits up.” The specialist stood, ready to leave the room.
Pedro laughed, a harsh, barking sound, and hit play on his CD player. The tinny sounds of Chumbawamba’s hit Tubtumping provided the exit song for the transplant specialist. “I get knocked down, but I get up again/You’re never gonna keep me down/I get knocked down, but I get up again…”
“That’s my theme song,” he chortled.
Pedro did exactly what the doctor ordered. He shuffled around the hospital every day, logging at least two miles. Each time a tasteless hospital meal arrived, he chewed it one laborious bite at a time. He kept playing his theme song to make the doctors and nurses laugh.
In other words, he took care of himself like a good patient even though the stressful situation could have easily swamped him.
How to be a Good Patient During Stressful Times
Right now, we could all have COVID-19 and not even know it. That would make us a patient during a stressful time. Even if we don’t have it, many of us are under orders to shelter-in-place, self-quarantine, or cooped up in a house full of people who have lost their normal.
Essentially, we sit in the same boat, whether well or ill. I’m a patient, you’re a patient, now what should we do?
1. Follow the Doctor’s Orders Without Complaining
Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face (the most difficult one for me). Wear a mask when you go out in public. Stay at home as much as possible. These tactics work at slowing the spread of the disease.
2. Take Care of Your Mental Health
Call a crisis hotline if you need to. Phone a friend. Use telehealth. Whatever you do, remember that you need to take care of your mental health during a crisis or any stressful time. Failure to do so will just make recovery take longer.
3. Exercise Regularly
Even if all you can do is dance in the living room, do it! Get your heart pumping. Pedro, at 6’2” and 135 lbs. looked like a walking skeleton as he shuffled around the hospital hallways. But the exercise paid off. It improved his mood and strengthened his body.
4. Eat Well
Grocery shopping got a lot harder last week, so making menus and shopping lists makes sense. If you have kids at home, ask them to help plan. Try ‘shopping’ your freezer or cupboards to limit your time in public places. Pedro claims we could eat for five months without visiting the grocery store. He exaggerates. I think.
5. Keep Your Spirits Up
When the specialist left the room and Pedro continued playing Tubthumping, I listened to all the lyrics for the first time and realized it was a drinking song. When I told Pedro, we couldn’t stop laughing.
Watch funny movies. Listen to funny podcasts. Play table games with your family.
What the Doctor Forgot to Say to His Patient
What did the doctor not say? He didn’t say anything about keeping a close connection to God. But we already knew that. Now is the time to dig deep into scripture and spend more time in prayer.
Just remember that God doesn’t operate a fast-food prayer answering service. Pedro’s healing took months. We felt stressed out multiple times. He circled the drain. We kept clinging to God.
God promises to be with us, no matter what. He doesn’t promise to take away sickness, or job loss, or trials, or tribulations. But he promises to be with us. Take comfort in that and draw near to him.
A good patient is a good patient, regardless of how stressful the situation is. And Jesus is the Great Physician, standing by to heal (your heart, your mind, your body).What kind of patient are you? Five tips plus a bonus on being a patient during stressful times. #fmfparty #stress #selfcare Click To Tweet